Food & Agri

As an entrepreneur in the food and agri sector, you may find yourself having to deal with complex legal problems. The sector is undergoing rapid changes, with issues such as food safety, sustainability and innovation playing a crucial role. Also brand identity and image have become increasingly important. The Netherlands is the world’s second largest agricultural exporter, and so the importance of its food & agri sector is considerable, not least in a financial sense.

If you are faced with sector-specific legal issues, you want to be assisted by legal experts with in-depth knowledge of the sector. The lawyers in our Food & Agri practice group are well aware of the relevant interests, history and developments in your sector and will be able to consider your legal questions in the right context. They will provide you with practical, to-the-point advice: not long, wordy advisory memos, but answers that you can put into practice right away. They will brainstorm with you on all your food and agri-sector related issues, as well as litigating, advising and negotiating in a number of areas, such as:

  • product liability and recalls
  • labelling requirements
  • nutritional and health-related claims
  • food safety and hygiene
  • commercial contracts (for instance licensing, distribution and supplier agreements)
  • intellectual property issues
  • national and European competition law
  • enforcement disputes with supervisory authorities, such as the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA)
  • investment and acquisition processes.

Thanks to extensive knowledge of these areas of law, the team can work from a variety of different perspectives to resolve the legal and strategic challenges that you face.

Here are a few examples of recent cases in which the lawyers in our Food & Agri practice group have been involved:

  • assisting several egg suppliers and poultry firms to recover the losses they suffered as a consequence of the Fipronil scandal;
  • representing companies under investigation by the NVWA, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) and the European Commission;
  • advising on the competition law implications of price quotations and assisting sectoral associations during an ACM investigation into prices in the agricultural sector;
  • advising sectoral associations (such as the Dutch Federation of Agriculture and Horticulture (LTO Nederland)) on the set-up of sustainability initiatives and the competition rules to be complied with;
  • advising on financing, investment and acquisition transactions in the food and agri sector;
  • litigating on the validity and infringement of a 3D trademark for the packaging of a well-known soft drink;
  • litigating on the implementation of European hygiene rules by the food industry and on the duties of food companies to conduct product recalls;
  • advising a reseller on the possibility of holding its supplier liable for the non-conformity of seeds with the agreed specifications in a supply agreement;
  • patent enforcement action relating to technology that is commonly used in the cultivation sector.

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